eBay first began offering the option of adding “Best Offer” on fixed price listings as a means for buyers and sellers to engage with one another prior to a sale.  While this feature delivers a positive experience from a buyer’s standpoint, sellers should limit their use of this tool for certain types of items.

WHEN USING “BEST OFFER” HELPS

Let’s look at the types of items where sellers stand to benefit from accepting offers.

  • Large ticket items – Buyers in the market for items such as boats, automobiles, or real estate will almost always be more engaging if they can make an offer.
  • Original artwork – With the constant ebbs and flows in the art world, accepting offers is much easier than determining a set value on original pieces.
  • One of a kind or low supply items – As with artwork, gauging a price for a one of a kind item, such as a professionally graded rare coin, can be done with the help of offers made by eBayers.  This can also be said regarding item with a very low supply.
  • Returned items – Products that are in new condition, but without the original packaging intact will attract enough attention to make accepting offers worthwhile.
  • Floor models – Same concept as a returned item.

WHEN USING “BEST OFFER” MIGHT HURT

Although the pre-sale communication with your potential buyer will usually result in a more positive all-around transaction, utilizing the “Best Offer” option is oftentimes overused by sellers.  Sellers who deal in new items priced under $50 may in fact be losing potential sales by taking offers.  Customers increasingly shop with a “ready to buy” attitude.  Many buyers are simply not willing to wait for a reply to their “Best Offer,” often causing them to move on to the next seller.  If that’s the case, why wouldn’t they still purchase it for the posted fixed price?  Well they might, but they might also assume that sellers accepting offers have set a high asking price to see if “anyone bites” or to send signals to buyers to influence their offers. The bottom line is unless your item falls within the five areas listed above, setting your fixed price at or below the competition is best.

HOW TO ADD “BEST OFFER” OPTION

If you’ve decided to add the option of accepting offers on your item the process is straightforward. Simply click the check box “allow buyers to make offers” on the main listing screen.  We highly recommend that you choose the “Auto Accept Auto Decline” feature. This will allow the seller to enter a price range that is acceptable to them for that particular listing. The system will automatically reject any offer below the seller’s acceptable price and automatically accept any that falls within the seller’s range.

  • This price range can be changed by the seller at the seller’s discretion.
  • If two offers come in simultaneously, the Auto Accept feature will accept the higher offer.

Not setting an automated response will require the seller to accept the offer, decline the offer, or make a counteroffer within 48 hours. After this, the buyer then has 48 hours to accept the counter-offer, decline the counter-offer, or make a counter-counteroffer. You can see how this could add a lot of back-and-forth and potentially cause you to lose a customer. All offers expire after 48 hours regardless of how you choose to set up your listing. Offers will also automatically expire if the eBay listing ends during this time or if another Best Offer is accepted. Buyers can make up to three offers per item.

CONCLUSION

There are still many buyers on eBay who like to haggle over price, but their numbers are slowly decreasing. As eBay shoppers start to look more and more like “regular” online shoppers the buying behavior on eBay is changing too.  Today, most of shoppers have the mindset of “search, find, and purchase NOW.” Convenience is key. This buying trend is one of the contributing factors to Amazon’s continued focus on friction-less, fast transactions and delivery, including their upcoming plans to roll out a one-hour drone delivery service. For specific types of eBay inventory, the Best Offer option makes sense. Overall, however, we recommend you use it sparingly, if at all.